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Drive-In Discs, Volume One: Screaming Skull / The Giant Leeches

Ken Clark , Yvette Vickers , Alex Nicol , Bernard L. Kowalski    Unrated   DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Product Description


In an effort to re-create a genuine drive-in experience in the comfort of your own living room, Elite Entertainment has paired up two horror films with nothing in common, tossed in a couple of cartoons, and dredged up a night's worth of intermission fillers. Alex Nicol's The Screaming Skull is an eerily effective little psycho-thriller about a newlywed (Peggy Webber) who moves into her husband's secluded mansion and becomes haunted by the ghost of his first wife. Borrowing liberally from Hitchcock's Under Capricorn (in particular the titular skull that follows our traumatized heroine around ), Nicol gives it a Southern Gothic twist with a decaying old mansion, a "slow," childlike handyman, and a strangling, overgrown setting. The Giant Leeches is another story, a swamp trash take on Creature from the Black Lagoon with floppy rubber creatures trawling the everglades for victims. They're as scary as a garbage bag and about as distinct too, but the real fun is the film's hothouse melodrama of hick poachers and hot-to-trot hillbilly adulterers. The giant bloodsuckers are explained away in classic fashion: "Maybe our proximity to Cape Canaveral has something to do with it."

Elite's transfers are better than one would expect, a little soft perhaps but clear, clean, and intact, and they've both been effectively letterboxed. They've also gone the extra mile to complete the drive-in experience with the alternate "Distort-O" audio option. Select the track and listen to the glorious low-fi reproduction of the tinny, buzzy drive-in speaker sound. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Night at the DRIVE-IN".......FOR REAL!! Feb. 14 2003
By A Customer
I must admit that I'd been holding off buying this (and the other disc)--due to the price AND the conflicting reviews of others (some have loved them...some were unrelenting in their criticism). Finally, I bought them both...

I have 4 speakers installed, in that "Surround" set-up thing...(it also works fine with only 2 speakers)...in the front left speaker, you'll hear the audio of the film (being transmitted over what SOUNDS like an actual Drive-In speaker...very tinny and MONO). In the other speaker(s), what is heard are nighttime crickets, people walking past, cars pulling up to park (beside me!), and other miscellaneous sounds!--all of which is Extremely authentic. For example, during the "Giant Leeches," (on volume ONE) there's even a carload of testosterone-charged teenagers...about 7 or 8 rows ahead (to the right!), who whistle every time blond bombshell Yvette Vickers comes onto the screen. During the intermission "highlights," people are heard running to the concession stand placing their orders, etc. ****REMEMBER: All these sounds CAN BE TURNED OFF with your DVD remote, (choosing the secondary audio track) and you'll hear full-blown (mono) audio without the distractions of the public!

The ambient Drive-In sounds on the second DVD ("Wasp Woman," "Gila Monster") are much more entertaining--I think...especially as you watch the intermission tid-bits and cartoons with two young couples who joke about the images on the screen--with regards to the warning of NO PUBLIC DISPLAY OF AFFECTION, "Let's All Go to the Lobby," and especially the Freudian humor of "Chilly Dilly Pickles"! You can't help but to laugh with them!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very poor transfers of classic 50's B-fliks! Feb. 24 2001
Well, I was extremely disappointed in this "drive-in" compilation. I own both Attack of the Giant Leeches and The Screaming Skull on video, and they're much better than what I found on this DVD. Perhaps I've become jaded, but I expect great digital work from Elite Entertainment, and I just didn't find it here. The "extras" are fun--all that schlocky drive-in stuff from the 50's. But my "fun" soon took a nose dive when I started watching the films themselves. Attack is muddy, blurry, and murky. Plus, where was the letter-boxing? The title card read "ack of the ant Leeches!" Very poorly done. As for Screaming Skull, well the print was terrible, just awful. And, as one reviewer said, there were huge chunks missing--bad enough the plot was crazy, but with these inexplicable cuts, how can anyone sane tell what's going on? Really, this has turned me off to getting any more Drive-In Classics from Elite. The recently-remastered "The Head That Would Not Die" looks like Citizen Kane by comparison. How would I rate this? How about "give me my money back?"
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Look, I know that "The Screaming Skull" is no "Citizen Kane." It's an atmospheric cheapie that has endeared itself to me primarily through my vivid memories of Saturday afternoon TV. But that's no excuse for the cruddy treatment it receives on this well-packaged but technically and--yes--artistically abysmal DVD. I compared the disc with an old VHS copy and noted the following: missing shots, entire chunks of missing dialogue, bad splices, letterboxing (!) that crops and cramps the image, a generally dark and muddy transfer, and a phony digital end title card. This is DVD? Some of the cuts actually make hash of the plot. For example, a character screams in terror when she sees a macabre painting. But since the DVD omits the shots of the painting, her screaming makes no sense. Subsequent dialogue about the painting is jettisoned as well. So when the painting suddenly appears in a later scene, a crucial plot twist can register only as a confusing "huh?" Other omissions completely undermine the relationship between two of the movie's characters. On the basis of this disc, it's no wonder that people think so little of this movie. If Elite Entertainment couldn't be bothered to find an adequate print of the movie, why bother with all the "drive-in" extras? "The Screaming Skull" is a frequently creepy (and, okay, occasionally funny) movie that deserves more than its role here as the peg on which to hang a marketing concept. Look for it on VHS. Avoid this disc.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Jeepers Creepers! Cheapie Creepies! May 9 2000
"The Screaming Skull" is a ghost story that plays with the viewer's mind as much as with the frightened wife's sanity. A newlywed couple named Eric and Jenni Whitlock move into the gloomy mansion formerly inhabited by Eric and his first wife, Marion. Marion died under peculiar circumstances. Jenni has a history of emotional instability, and she also has money. One terrible night, when Jenni is left alone in the house, weird and terrifying things happen. Screams are heard in the night. Maybe it's just a pair of peacocks crying to each other in the yard, or could it be the agonized scream of Eric's first wife in her death throes? A human skull unaccountably appears in a cabinet in the same room as a self-portrait of the dead Marion. Overcoming her terror, Jenni hurls the skull out of the window. A short time later, a knocking that reverberates through the house is heard at the front door. Jenni timidly opens the door and collapses, screaming at what she finds. Is it horrifyingly real or just hallucination? The atmosphere and suspense of this little movie is amazingly effective. The old dark house, only illuminated by dim candles and a flickering fireplace adds to Jenni's terror. The tilted camera angle as if the skull is viewing the house from outside raises the hackles. There is a blend of ghost story elements and murder mystery that keeps the first time viewer guessing. What really happened to Marion, and what or whom is tormenting Jenni? Is the ghostly female figure that appears in the greenhouse and bounds through the garden real or just more of Jenni's tortured hallucinations? And what are those screams that resound through the night?
Both of these films are low budget movies.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Screaming Skull/Attack of The Giant Leeches
People are sulking about

This film is not worth the storage room. Everything is as transparent as her night attire. Read more
Published 11 months ago by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Who cares about the movies!
I bought this DVD strictly for the classic Filmack intermission clock, which was hard-to-find on VHS. Read more
Published on Nov. 12 2001 by Mr Doug Gordon
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Dated Movie
The movie "Attack of the Giant Leeches" is a great movie even considering the dated material and the low budget. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2001 by Richard Craig Vaughn
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly worthwhile!
My wife insisted we buy this, and I really had my doubts. I was, however, pleasantly surprised! This is one of the most enjoyable discs we've bought. Read more
Published on May 17 2001 by Scott Leopold
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly worthwhile!
My wife insisted we buy this, and I really had my doubts. I was, however, pleasantly surprised! This is one of the most enjoyable discs we've bought. Read more
Published on May 17 2001 by Scott Leopold
5.0 out of 5 stars A whole new experienc
I was very surprised to pop this disc into my DVD player and actually feel like I was transported back to the experience of going to a drive in theater. Read more
Published on March 27 2001 by Cherryl Weaver
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT disc if you have the right attitude!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First off, any videophile or Home Theater enthusiast knows how fairly difficult and/or expensive it is to find genuine Filmack stuff; the hotdog ad, the "Chilly Willy"... Read more
Published on March 27 2001 by Alan Beumann
3.0 out of 5 stars A "Fun" idea
To begin with-neither of these movies are especially good, although "Giant Leeches" is the more entertaining of the two. Read more
Published on March 10 2001 by Robert E VandenHeuvel
5.0 out of 5 stars The Next Best Thing!
I waited for this DVD for months. Delay after delay. But it was well worth th wait. Unfortunatly this may be the only way for many people to enjoy the sights and sounds of the... Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2001 by Randy Lee Debler
4.0 out of 5 stars Closest thing to a real drive-in experience
Long live Distort-O! What a fun concept. Turn off the lights, it's easy to picture yourself in a drive-in. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2001 by A. Gammill
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